Urban Journalism Institute

Cities in 2024

AI, the abbreviation for artificial intelligence, is the crowned word of 2023, per the Collins Dictionary. The Oxford Dictionary bestows the honour upon “rizz,” an Internet-driven slang meaning style, charm, or attractiveness, the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner. Conversely, Merriam-Webster elevates “authentic” to prominence, emphasising the fundamental values of genuineness and sincerity. Among the contenders, “rizz” resurfaces alongside the ominous figure of “deepfake,” embodying the sinister manipulation of digital imagery to deceive and distort reality.

Meanwhile, the Cambridge Dictionary delves into the realm of artificial intelligence, offering a novel interpretation of “hallucination.” In this context, when an AI system “hallucinates,” it generates false information, a phenomenon colloquially known as confabulation. Such linguistic adaptations underscore the evolving interplay between human cognition and AI-driven algorithms, blurring the boundaries of perception and reality.

The advent of AI-powered language models has revolutionised daily routines, permeating millions of lives since its inception in late 2022. As we fast forward to 2024, the exponential rise in AI utilisation promises breakthroughs in education and healthcare, sparking both excitement and apprehension. Governments grapple with the delicate balance between economic prosperity and the regulation of AI technologies, mindful of the potential to exacerbate societal inequalities.

Amidst the persistent backdrop of “permacrisis” and “polycrisis,” as forecasted in 2023, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, albeit less visibly. Despite the World Health Organization declaring the pandemic’s end in May 2023, after nearly seven million deaths, its enduring impacts ripple through weakened economies, exacerbated climate crises, and heightened geopolitical tensions and armed conflicts. Local and regional governments find themselves at the nexus of these challenges, tasked with fostering peace, resilience, and community well-being.

Yet, amidst adversity, there lies an opportunity for renewal and solidarity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) face regression in collective progress, necessitating a renewed focus on positive news and local achievements in 2024. It is a year ripe for democratic elections and global governance reforms, hopefully, grounded in trust and inclusivity, catalysing transformative partnerships and high-impact coalitions.

In scaling up local actions for global impact, the year 2024 must prioritise care and rights-based approaches, ensuring the participation of all communities in shaping our collective future. 

Cofounded by the European Union This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of UCLG and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.